Pakistan profilePresident: Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari won the presidential race of 6 September 2008 by a big majority. His election by Pakistan's legislators came a few weeks after his predecessor Pervez Musharraf resigned under threat of impeachment.
At his swearing-in ceremony, Mr Zardari said he was accepting the post of president in the name of his assassinated wife, Benazir Bhutto.
Mr Zardari had long lived in the shadow of his late charismatic wife, who was twice Pakistan's prime minister and head of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) - a position Mr Zardari inherited upon her death in December 2007.
Asif Zardari married Ms Bhutto in 1987 and held the positions of federal environment minister and federal investment minister during her tenure as premier.
But Mr Zardari was also controversially referred to as "Mr 10%" following allegations of corruption. For this, and for murder charges of which he was later cleared, he spent two separate terms in prison totalling eleven and a half years.
In December 2009, the Supreme Court ruled illegal an amnesty law introduced in 2007 by former President Musharraf offering Mr Zardari immunity from corruption charges. The law was designed to allow Mr Zardari's late wife, Benazir Bhutto, to return to the country.
Under pressure to relinquish some of the powers accumulated by Pakistan's presidency in four decades of recurrent military rule, Mr Zardari in April 2010 presented to parliament proposals for sweeping constitutional reform.
The measures were designed to strip the president of key powers - including the right to dissolve parliament, dismiss the government and appoint the head of the powerful military - and in effect restrict the office to a largely ceremonial role.
The constitutional amendments bill received overwhelming support in both houses of parliament.
In 2010, Mr Zardari came under heavy criticism in Pakistan for visiting Britain during the devastating floods, in which millions were displaced.
On becoming president, Mr Zardari pledged to tackle the problem of Islamic militancy. Following allegations by India that the devastating 2008 attacks on the city of Mumbai were orchestrated in Pakistan, he insisted his country was ready to cooperate with other countries in the fight against terrorism.
Asif Ali Zardari was born on 26 July 1955. He comes from a prominent family in Pakistan's Sindh province and has one son and two daughters. His son, Bilawal Zardari, was born in 1988 and is co-chairman of the Pakistan People's Party.Prime Minister: Nawaz Sharif
The Muslim League conservative opposition party won parliamentary elections in May 2013, returning Nawaz Sharif to power for a third time.
Mr Sharif, a wealthy industrialist from Punjab, first emerged in the 1980s as a protege of military ruler Zia ul-Haq, and went on to serve as elected prime minister in 1990-1993 and 1997-1999, alternating in office with the left-leaning Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
Army chief Pervez Musharraf deposed him in a coup in 1999, and Mr Sharif spent the following eight years in Saudi exile.
His victory in 2013 - again over the PPP - marked the first transition from one elected government to another in the country's history.
He has set out an ambitious programme of public works, fighting corruption and ending US drone attacks on the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Mr Sharif will face serious obstacles to these plans, not least US security objections and difficulty in borrowing money for any major spending projects.